On the River Near Chang Mountain
- Poetry of Xu Zaisi


- Last updated: 2024-06-25 11:59:30

On the River Near Chang Mountain by Xu Zaisi






English Translation

Hills far away,

Hills close;

All a blur of blue-green.

Confusion of stones in the rapids as we sail against the current.

Narrow as if the joined clouds were walls.

Sun sinks, crows at dusk;

West wind and homeward geese.

I sigh because the way is hard.

Blocked here

Then blocked again,

And everywhere fish soup to eat!

By Xu Zaisi

Why Chinese poems is so special?
The most distinctive features of Chinese poetry are: concision- many poems are only four lines, and few are much longer than eight; ambiguity- number, tense and parts of speech are often undetermined, creating particularly rich interpretative possibilities; and structure- most poems follow quite strict formal patterns which have beauty in themselves as well as highlighting meaningful contrasts.
How to read a Chinese poem?
Like an English poem, but more so. Everything is there for a reason, so try to find that reason. Think about all the possible connotations, and be aware of the different possibilities of number and tense. Look for contrasts: within lines, between the lines of each couplet and between successive couplets. Above all, don't worry about what the poet meant- find your meaning.

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